Despite glaring health disparities among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) compared to non-indigenous populations across the United States, there is a paucity of research addressing their HIV/AIDS prevention and the mental health concerns. A strong network of highly trained and productive Native scholars dedicated to research that is culturally grounded would contribute to ameliorating health disparities among AIAN. Although NIH has issued calls to increase the representation of AIAN and other underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities (UREM) as principal investigators for mental health, substance use, alcohol use, and HIV prevention research studies, few have attained PI status or received federal funding. This application, in response to PAR-06-494 """"""""NIMH Research Education Grants (R25),"""""""" is designed to develop the Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training (IHART) program to train a cadre of NIMH-funded junior and mid-career research scientists in the area of HIV/AIDS and mental health prevention. AIAN trainees will be prioritized but UREM, individuals with disadvantaged backgrounds, and non-Native scientists who are currently conducting research in Native communities are eligible to participate as well. The IHART program will be housed at the university-wide interdisciplinary Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI). IWRI and its associated research scientists, staff, and their affiliates will provide a supportive and fertile environment for the program. IWRI is directed and staffed almost entirely by AIAN, with two of the leading federally funded AIAN HIV researchers at the helm. The IHART program specific aims are to 1) Facilitate the development of a cadre of junior and mid-career scientists capable of serving as PIs on extramurally funded HIV/AIDS -mental health prevention studies with indigenous populations through an intensive 24-month mentorship program comprising a 2-day winter roundtable;a 2-week summer training institute;year-round multidisciplinary learning opportunities via seminar series, virtual workshops, and presentations;seed funding ($22,000) for development (i.e. pilot projects, conferences);as well as statistical, administrative, editorial, and technical assistance for developing grant applications, conducting primary or secondary data analyses, and writing manuscripts for publication;2) Establish a network of mentors with expertise in HIV research, mental health, trauma, substance abuse and CBPR;3) Launch a website and listserv to facilitate the sharing of relevant research, information, and opportunities; and 4) Conduct a process evaluation of the program to identify factors key to its success.
NIH has issued calls to increase the representation of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) and other underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities (UREM) as principal investigators for mental health, substance use, alcohol use, and HIV prevention research studies. However, few AIAN or UREM researchers have attained PI status or received federal funding. The proposed research will contribute to the public health by developing a cadre of NIMH-funded junior and mid-career AIAN research scientists in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention and mental health. These researchers will be highly trained and productive scholars dedicated to building research that is culturally grounded and capable of ameliorating health disparities in Indian Country.
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